Ms. Wright, your kids have recently left the nest. Does it scare you to be so free again?
No. I’m so close with my kids, but it’s funny, they leave and now they already want to come back. Wait, it’s only been three months!
How does it feel? Like being 21 again?
Yeah! It’s great. You just have time. I don’t have to carpool to soccer practice anymore. (Laughs) Literally!
What are your kids up to now?
My daughter is in New York working, going to school. My son graduated high school and went to Haiti to work for his dad’s organization and then extended his stay. It’s incredible what he’s doing.
It must be a bit hard for you as a mother though.
Yeah, but it’s in his blood. Sean was born with that need to help. And it’s so beautiful to see what his organization has done. They moved in offering emergency aid relief and set up camp, but where Médecins Sans Frontières, Red Cross, or UNICEF come in and then they bail, Sean stayed and hired the Haitians. Educated doctors, logisticians, all the nurses, teachers for the children – taught all the natives – and now 98% of his organization is run by Haitians.
Were there ever times when you felt like Sean was putting himself in danger? He even went to Iran when nobody dared to go there…
That one was scary. I remember that. I didn’t feel it in Baghdad when he went there, but when he went to Iran I really said goodbye to him. I said, “Just in case, I’m really saying goodbye.” Because there was no contact when he was there. Yeah, that was hairy.
But you are an active humanitarian as well, no?
If I can use my celebrity status to raise awareness, of course I will. We should all be doing it, every single one of us. It’s just never been in my nature to go out there and go on a red carpet to say, “Oh, publicize me!” It’s one thing to go out and support a movie and yes, you have to stay in the game to a certain degree and do that kind of stuff, but you have passions in life. To be passionate about being on a red carpet saying, “Look at me and look at my dress!” I’m not interested in that.
But your career might have benefited from it…
I don’t have those kinds of regrets. I did what I wanted to do. I have zero desire – never had and never will have – for the public to know who I am. They are going to perceive who you are anyway. They do it anyway, they make up who you are anyway, so let them go. There’s almost something masturbatory about it. It’s like, “You go masturbate, but I don’t want to see it!” (Laughs) No, I wanted to raise my kids, I wanted to be in a family, I wanted to not be on the cover of People Magazine like Brad and Angelina – I definitely didn’t want that.
I guess that makes you the exception.
It’s very sad. Sad because it’s almost like we’re losing the element of artistry. I think that art is so in the background, behind the veil. It hasn’t died, but it’s a rarity. It’s the minority. That’s what’s sad to me. Stars and fame and all that have become the majority.
Do you think this infatuation with stardom will ever collapse and return to a normal level?
No, of course not. The industry couldn’t survive on its own. You have that artistic minority and then you’ve got the majority and the majority tends to win; it’s able to sustain itself longer, I think, with just the bad movies.
What does that mean when looking for good roles?
Sometimes you have to do one for the money to pay the bills, but you don’t have to just go full on commercial and full on outside of yourself – you don’t have to be a full on liar. But partial fakery is sometimes a necessity in life. You’ve got to feed your kids, you want to be happy, you want to travel. We’re always compromising to a certain degree: Is it wise to do it for the money here, in this particular role, for this amount of time? Is it something I want to be affiliated with? Who else is in it?
Does it help if a friend is attached to the project?
Yes, but sometimes that can make it more difficult. For example, I recently did a movie with Woody Harrelson. I’ve known Woodrow for almost 15 years. We’ve been buddies and we’re from the same neck of the woods in the South so we always had that connection, but being like brother and sister was hard for the role.
When we first met for the film I said, “Wood, I really want to do this part, but you’re my brother and we have to… fuck in the movie. And I just can’t do it.” And he goes, (with a thick Southern accent) “Well, Robbie, you’re my hot sister. So I think we can make it work.” I said, “No, I can’t do it!” We had to get really, really drunk – really drunk – before we did it.
How long did it take to get it right?
We banged it out in two takes.
How long did it take to get drunk?
Well, he drinks this double-double organic wine, you know, vegan. I think I was pounding tequila on that one. That was rough.Return to Top